Summons Nerf Redux


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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 10:53

Summons Nerf Redux

I've written up a new discussion page for summoners on the wiki: https://crawl.develz.org/wiki/doku.php?id=dcss:brainstorm:magic:schools:summoning

This is a collection of lots of different ideas from here, IRC, etc., and I'm not proposing that all the ideas there should be implemented! Further discussion and feedback on the wiki and on here is appreciated.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 15:33

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

The summon cap feels really inelegant. I'd rather have a way of penalizing players who overextend with summons rather than prevent them from doing so in the first place. For instance, if many monsters had a smart way of mass abjuring then it would be silly to blow all your MP on one batch of summons. Also, monster cleaving and penetration would allow them to deal with swarms much easier. Of course, many other new monster spells could be devised to help them punish summons.

Interesting interactions with summons are more important than the spells themselves. I think most people can agree that having your summons kill things while you is back is boring, but right now it is optimal play, even with summon caps. The school really needs ways of interacting with the summons besides the 't' commands.

Here are some ideas I had from an earlier summoning thread:

- Battle cry: Greatly buffs the damage of all summons in LOS, with the bonus dependent on how close they are to you. Adjacent monster receive a large bonus, while ones at the edge of LOS receive nothing. Last several turns and the bonus changes as the monsters change their distance from you. Noisy.

- Potion share: Applies a potion effect to every monster in LOS. It can be scaled to apply a stronger effect when there are less monsters on screen.

In addition, it might be worthwhile to replace call imp with something that summons red devils. Their polearm kiting AI and low HP seem suited for a fun summoning spell.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 15:42

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

There's a lot of interesting stuff on the wiki page.

I like removing the XP Penalty - I'd rather have summoning be balanced and fun rather than hurting your long term character development.

I've noticed a lot of people have suggest that if you want to play a summoner-style mid-game, you should go Wz and then branch out into summoning, particularly for mummies and felids. Is this a problem that would need to be addressed or just clustering illusion? Call Imp is pretty powerful, and this would give it exclusively to Minor Magic. Messing with Summoner Stats would further encourage choosing Wz.

I particularly like incorporating summons into the perma-buff framework. Is there anybody working on implementing perma-buffs right now?
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 16:08

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

I like the sort of permanent ally nature proposed for canines and dragons. But thematically it seems a bit weird to have a summon follow you around like a permanent ally. What if they time out as before, but every time you summon, you get back the same hound/dragon? Until it gets killed, anyway.

I don't mind the XP penalty if it's actually going to permanent allies. Would make sense too.

Edit: Stationary summons made me think of Tower Defense games. Is that like Summon Oklob?

Tomb Titivator

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 16:27

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

Why is twisted resurection on that page? It's a necromancy spell.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 16:47

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

What is the gameplay that we want summoners to have? How close should they be to the monsters their summons are attacking?

4th Ed DnD uses a mechanic where the action of a summon replaces your own action that turn. That was an elegant mechanic that I feel worked in nerfing summons while making sense. Only the most skilled summoners could control multiple creatures at once.

For new players at least, summoning is still ~fun~. It may be overpowered, but it's definitely not easy to use. It gives you a sense of discovery and enjoyment to use summons effectively.

Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 17:42

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

The core problem with summoning spells is that using them consists entirely of filling up the screen with crap and walking away.

As long as this remains true, summoning will not be fun to use. Summon Hydra is the only spell that's actually cool and fun under the current system, and that's because its low duration and high damage make it feel as much like a conjuration as a summon, hence the wonderful nickname Iskenderun's Orb of Hydra.

The summoning caps limit the problem, but they don't actually do much to fix it. They just enforce a stricter composition to the big cloud of crap you put up between yourself and the game. Instead of 8 ice beasts, you get 3 ice beasts, 3 hounds, and 3 scorpions. And honestly, I think less about using summons now, because I no longer have to decide if I should use hounds or imps or ice beasts or scorpions; the caps force me to just summon a couple of each.

Summon Scorpions, however, is hit pretty hard by the cap, which cancels out its primary advantage over other summons, larger numbers.

I've noticed a lot of people have suggest that if you want to play a summoner-style mid-game, you should go Wz and then branch out into summoning, particularly for mummies and felids. Is this a problem that would need to be addressed or just clustering illusion? Call Imp is pretty powerful, and this would give it exclusively to Minor Magic. Messing with Summoner Stats would further encourage choosing Wz.

Call Imp used to be the best spell in the Book of Callings, which basically meant that Wz was as good as Su at the only thing Su does. The cap makes it so that massive spamming of summons requires knowing multiple summoning spells, which addresses at least this particular problem.
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Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 18:16

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

I think that stationary summons are a really good direction.

Weaker summons that bolster the players' abilities are also an interesting direction. You might find the player protecting their own summons in that case. What about summons that buff the player, bolster their regeneration, attack when the player attacks?

Hey, there's an angle. Summons that only attack the creature the player is attacking.

Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 18:25

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

We could call it battlesphere.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 18:35

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

Change conjure ball lighting from air/cj to air/summoning. Make it smite targeted. It's not guaranteed to hit what you smite, but it might.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 20:25

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

Here's a kind of crazy idea- What if retaining control over your summoned creatures required you to stand still? Make it work almost like you are channeling energy.

1. It prevents the "summon and just leave" problem
2. If you do need to run, have it turn your summons neutral or confuse them or make them all puff into smoke or something, this way you still have a bit of a shield effect.
3. It reinforces the idea that "summoning lots of stuff is more fun than summoning a big thing"
3b. Similarly, it would be soooo cool if summoning a Hydra or Dragon let you control it instead of yourself.
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Wednesday, 10th July 2013, 21:00

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

summons cause contamination?
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Dungeon Master

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Post Thursday, 11th July 2013, 09:05

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

reaver wrote:I particularly like incorporating summons into the perma-buff framework. Is there anybody working on implementing perma-buffs right now?

No. Each time the discussion comes up about how to implement it, the conclusion is that we don't want perma-buffs.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 11th July 2013, 21:59

Re: Summons Nerf Redux

What if each summon spell includes a chance for the summon to turn out hostile that scales with the number of summons you already have. This might be enough to selectively disable swimming in imp strategies.

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